CarMax auto finance review: Multiple financing options

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In a Nutshell

CarMax offers auto financing for used cars with multiple financing options and multiple repayment choices. You can apply for preapproval, but you must purchase a used car from a CarMax store or dealership.
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Pros Cons
Multiple financing options Must purchase a used car from CarMax to be considered for financing
You can apply for preapproval No refinancing options available
Considers a range of credit profiles  

What you need to know about CarMax Auto Finance loans

Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, CarMax operates more than 200 used-car stores across the country. As a large used-car retailer in the U.S., CarMax Auto Finance offers auto loans to people who purchase a used car from a CarMax location.

Multiple car financing options

In addition to CarMax Auto Finance, CarMax has relationships with multiple third-party lenders. Having access to several lenders could help you find the best lending option for your financial needs.

These lenders include …

You can purchase a car only through CarMax

To finance a used car with a CarMax auto loan, you must buy the car from a CarMax dealership or store.

Considers a range of credit profiles

While CarMax doesn’t specifically list minimum credit approval requirements, CarMax says its financing sources accommodate most credit profiles. CarMax determines your eligibility by evaluating factors that include your application information, credit history, the vehicle you want to buy (its age, mileage and price) and your down payment amount.

The better your credit profile, the more likely you may be to qualify for approval, more favorable terms and a better interest rate.

A closer look at CarMax Auto Finance

Here are some other things to know about CarMax Auto Finance.

  • Loan repayment terms range from 36 to 72 months.
  • Most of CarMax’s financing decisions are available within 20 minutes.
  • If you discover a better financing option within three business days, CarMax allows you to replace your loan with another financing option at no cost.
  • You can add co-buyers to preapproval or finance applications.
  • CarMax offers multiple ways to make a car payment, including online payment, mail, Western Union locations or MoneyGram Express Payments service.

Is a CarMax auto loan the right fit for you?

If you don’t enjoy negotiating with dealerships over your rates and terms, getting an auto loan from CarMax might be an attractive lending option for you.

CarMax bases your finance offer on factors that include your down payment on the auto loan amount and application information. If your credit isn’t great, your interest rate may be higher than what’s offered to people who have strong credit.

If you want to buy a car from a dealer other than CarMax, you’ll have to look for an alternate lender.

How to apply for a loan from CarMax Auto Finance

CarMax Auto Finance offers the ability to apply for preapproval for an auto loan. Just keep in mind that preapproval is not a guarantee of loan approval, and your loan terms and interest rate may be different once you complete a formal loan application.

But before you decide to formally apply for an auto loan with CarMax Auto Finance, it’s a good idea to check your credit and compare other loan offers. Understanding your credit can help set expectations — in general, lower credit scores will result in higher interest rates. And shopping around can help you find the best loan rate and terms for your needs. Read our article on how to get a car loan to learn more.

Not sure if CarMax Auto Finance is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you’re not sure a CarMax Auto Finance loan is right for you, here are some other options to consider.

  • U.S. Bank auto loan: A U.S. Bank auto loan could be good for someone who wants competitive rates on a used-car loan.
  • LightStream auto loan: LightStream may be a good option if you want to buy a new car or a used car from a private party.

About the author: Ashley Chorpenning is a personal finance writer and content creator. In addition to being a contributing writer at Credit Karma, she writes for solo entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies. Ashley has a Bachelor of Bu… Read more.